'The Cloudburst' is one completed chapter from an unfinished Arthur Ransome novel (one that he once predicted would be "his best book") called The River Comes First. In early drafts, Ransome looked to write the book in the first person (from the perspective of Tom Staunton, the principal character) and, while he later changed his mind, 'The Cloudburst' remains as a first person narrative. In the story, the young Tom with a younger friend, Jenny, play on an island in the river. One day there is a great rainstorm in the hills and the river, in full spate, starts to overwhelm the island. Tom uses the principles of fly-fishing to mastermind an escape.

'The Cloudburst' is published as a short story in Coots in the North and Other Stories, along with the first four chapters of The River Comes First.

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